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90 per cent of smartphone users suffer from this (and here's why)

You're not alone in feeling that phantom vibration from your pocket

90 per cent of smartphone users suffer from this (and here's why)
12 January 2016

You definitely felt it.

A distinct buzz around the upper thigh.

Not a normal, human itch, but the kind of precise electronic pulse that you've long attributed to a notification from your phone. 

Yet, as you fumble about in your pocket preparing for the brief disappointment of realising it was only a text from your mum, you begin questioning your sanity: your phone has nothing to say for itself. "Not me guv' - I've not vibrated for the best part of an hour."

If you've ever experienced the above, you're far from alone. As many as nine in ten people are thought to experience 'Phantom Vibration Syndrome' - which Dr Robert Rosenberger, philosopher and assistant professor at Georgia Institute of Technology, believes is down to "learned bodily habits".

Speaking to the BBC, Rosenberger explained that the familiar buzz that we could have sworn just went through our pocket is actually a hallucination, which can be attributed to anxiety.

"There are a couple of ways of explaining it," he told the BBC. "Some people have suggested that technology like telephones are changing our brains, creating a special cognitive pathway designed to feel these vibrations as a phone call. Another theory is that we're all so anxious because of all our different technologies: our email, our text messages, just have us on edge, so we'll be more inclined to feel something in our pocket such as phantom vibration.

"We've become so accustomed to the technology that we're even experiencing our own bodies in these weird new ways. Is it a sixth sense? I wouldn't describe it as that exactly, but I would say it's one of those big game-changing experiences like glasses or like driving a car that really changes your relationship to the world."

You can read Rosenberger's full thoughts on the syndrome in this report

As for curing your frustration of phantom vibrations - try adjusting your habits? Adjust notification settings so it no longer vibrates. Sure, you might miss a call if it's on silent - but a missed call will be less frustrating than thinking the world is trying to reach you when it really isn't. 

[Via: BBC]

(Image: Shutterstock)